How Celebrity Chef Marcel Vigneron Recharges
When he needs a break from the fast-paced restaurant life, the acclaimed chef does it all, from climbing and surfing to hiking and skateboarding
A few years ago, celebrity chef Marcel Vigneron was on a beach in Hawaii, trying to figure out his next career move—go to work in New York or open a restaurant in Los Angeles. “I sat on the beach, meditating on that decision, and came to my answer,” he recalls. It was a clear choice: Marcel opened his first restaurant, Wolf, which Los Angeles magazine would name one of the city’s best new restaurants in 2016.
For Marcel, an adidas TERREX ambassador and former Top Chef contestant, it was normal to make a big decision in nature. Although he's worked in some of the most acclaimed restaurants in the world, Marcel grew up hiking and mountain biking on Bainbridge Island, Washington, and says he still does his best thinking in nature. “Being outside—whether it’s surfing, rock climbing, trail running, or hiking—lets me quiet that noise and focus on the task at hand,” says Marcel, who opened a second restaurant, Tacos Lobos, in L.A. in 2018.
From his home in West Hollywood, Marcel, 39, always tries to carve out time in his hectic schedule—he often works six long days a week. He’ll ride his bike to work, rock climb in Malibu Canyon, or surf at Surfrider Beach. When you work as hard as he does, those breaks are critical. “I’ve been cooking for 25 years. A lot of people get burnt out, but one of the reasons I’ve been able to endure it for so long is because I’ve been able to get outside and find that balance.” Even a quick boost is enough to recharge him. Often, he'll take his dog out or hop on his skateboard after he gets off work and skate down empty streets to clear his head.
He swears by his adidas TERREX Free Hikers for many of his outings, including the occasional cooking adventure. “I wear them for everything. I just wore them making tacos outside in Austin, Texas,” he says.
This year, when Marcel had to make yet another hard decision—whether to keep his two Los Angeles restaurants open—he hit the trails in search of his answer. The verdict: it was time for something new. Marcel decided to close both restaurants and shift his focus to catering and events, like Coachella. “With our lives so fast-paced and stressful, we forget to breathe sometimes. I needed to remember to breathe,” he says.
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